27 April 2011

Fountain of...Indecision

At Steve's insistence, our landscaping plan includes a water feature. Our landscape designer did a great job incorporating a modest vessel fountain as the focal point of a huge planting bed in the backyard, where it will be visible from the yard, the screened porch, the (eventual) patio, and the master bedroom. The fountain hasn't been a high priority item, but we recently passed by a place that sells such things, so we decided to stop in and check out their selection.

Let's get this out of the way up front: if Steve had his way, he'd put in something like this:

It would be amazing, but it would take us, like, a year and a half to build. So that will not be happening. (At least, not in this decade.) What we are going for is a simple vessel fountain, like this:

But not exactly that one. We found a few different vessels that spoke to us. I tried to take pretty close-up pictures of each one, as well as pictures of Steve standing next to them for scale. A lot of the styles we liked happened to be fairly small:

And here it is in action (the water darkens it somewhat, making it perhaps a better match to the stone on our house):

But is it too matchy?

Here Steve is standing next to a slightly different version of the smaller one above:

Here is a red one that is set up, but it also comes in green:

See the plastic grate, mesh, and river stones at the base? That's how the "disappearing" aspect of it works. There's a plastic box (about a foot deep) that gets recessed into the ground. The pump sits in that box. When the water spills over the sides of the fountain, it goes through the rocks, mesh, and grate and into the box, where it gets pumped back up all over again.

Here's the green version:

I really like it, but maybe the green squariness is too much like the house? (Don't worry, there's plenty more green to see below.)

We liked the color (of course) and pattern of this one, and the height is better for visibility over the low bushes that will be surrounding it:

But it seemed too wide. So, without any single find that was just right, we headed toward the exit, planning to think on our options for a while. And that's when we saw this (again):

It wasn't the fountain that caught our eye. Or this one, either, although it excited us just as much:

Neither of these fountains are right for our yard, but we love how they're built up off the ground. The box that catches the water isn't recessed but instead is set on the ground, so the fountain itself sits about a foot higher. Stone and gravel is used to build up the sides of the box and make it look natural. (And if there's one thing we have -- or, rather, two -- it's spare stones and gravel.)

So that opened up the possibility of smaller vessels. We were really drawn to the squiggly pattern on this one:

But it's probably still too small. This one has a neat, subtle pattern that gives it an Asian feel (sorry, forgot the close-up):

There's no telling what fountain we might end up with (or even when), but it was fun to start the process of choosing just the right one for us. (We plan to take these pictures out to the yard, try to imagine the planting bed full of color and volume, and decide which one is the best fit.) Although the fountain was 100% Steve's idea, I'm realizing it will be a pretty nifty feature.

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